The history of the festival is rich in difficulties and victories. During the Victorian era the cathedral clergymen often voiced their displeasure at the irreligious nature of the event. There was a whole story in the middle of the XIX century, when the Dean of Hereford Cathedral forbade using the Cathedral for the festival. He was revolted with the fact, that people came there not for worship or pray, but to entertain themselves while listening to the music. The culmination of the resisting occurred in 1875 during the so called "Mock Festival", when only three Cathedral Choirs took part in the concert. There were no oratories, no orchestras and no soloists. But the Dean lost because of intercession of civic authorities. In 1875 an official support of the council was proclaimed for the continuation of the event in its previous form.
There were also a lot of problems, connected with finances. A new era of the festival existence began in 1858, when railways appeared and people could come from far away to listen to the beautiful music.
This oldest music festival is a Registered Charity Organization. Since the beginning of the festival in the early XIX it was decided to collect money for widows and orphans. Now collections are restricted to the first and last concerts and to each choral service. So if you are going to the oldest music festival do not forget to be generous and to support the widows of England and their families. It is one of the festival rituals.
In the XIX century Music Meetings lasted two days, beginning on the second Tuesday of September. Nowadays this oldest music festival lasts about a week and it is a very important and interesting event for people, who come to England from all around the world.
Three Choirs Festival 2005 took place in Worcester from the 6th to the 14th of August.The festival of this year had a good deal of interesting events. In a memory of the 60th anniversary of the end of the World War II Britten's "War Requiem" and Prokofiev's 7th Piano Sonata were performed. It was also a year of the 500th anniversary of Thomas Tellis' birth, so spectators could see a magnificent candlelight performance of "Spem in Alium" and other great choral works. The festival 2005 will stay in history as the first one, in which opera was included. It was Purcell's "The Fairy Queen".
The festival gathered a lot of outstanding Orchestras, such as: the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, The Orchestra of the Swan, the English Symphony Orchestra and a lot of others, all with their best concert programs.
Young performers also took part in the festival. There were special programs for them, such as: Telling Tales about the travels, stories of Hans Christian Andersen, Music Competitions and others.
The next year will carry the festival to Hereford and the program promises to be even more interesting than this year. The Festival will provide its spectators with drama, exhibitions, street theatre, brass bands, fireworks and a number of other entertainments.
Don't hesitate, if you have an opportunity to come to this festival - you will surely find something interesting especially for you there.